While applying for most scholarships happens during senior year of high school, preparing to get a scholarship starts with building a solid academic base in elementary and middle school--the higher the better. (The better the student, the more scholarship money is available.) 

How much money is available?
There are two basic kinds of scholarships: institutional and outside. Institutional scholarships are by far the largest (sometimes worth $100,000 or more) and students should focus on understanding and qualifying for those first. To find institutional scholarships, simple go to the website of a college you're interested in and then search for scholarships. Sometimes these scholarships are automatic, meaning any student who qualifies gets it, and sometimes they are competitive.

Later, students should search for outside scholarships (often $250-$1,000) to fill in.

Applying: Who are you? (And who's in your family?)
Scholarships come in all types, but most are based on a student's personal and family characteristics:

-- Academic honors
-- Career field
-- College
-- Major
-- Community organizations
-- Race
-- Employer/industry
-- Ethnicity
-- Gender
-- Military affiliation 
-- Nationality
-- Religion
-- Residence (city, state)
-- Student clubs/organizations

When looking for scholarships, students should use the list above to create a list of search terms. However, students and families should keep in mind that most scholarships have GPA and sometimes testing requirements.

A graph of scholarship opportunities by GPA at CSUSB that shows there is no scholarship money for student with below a 2.0 but more opportunities as GPA increases until students reach 100 percent at a 3.75 GPA or higher.
Depending on the school, some scholarships are automatic if a student reaches certain GPA and/or testing requirements:

California Baptist University (CBU)

A chart that lists CBU's merit-based scholarships, starting at $7,500 for a 3.0 GPA and 990 SAT to $13,500 for a 4.0+ and a 1200+ SAT.

Northern Arizona University

A chart that lists NAU's $5,000 scholarship for WUE students with a 3.5+ unweighted GPA and a 990+ SAT score.

Student Story: Searching for scholarships

Student Story: Relying on scholarships when facing immigration challenges

Videos: How to search for scholarships

LINK: Big Future's Scholarship Search
How to apply for a scholarship
LINK: Todo lo que debes saber de becas estudiantiles
Scholarship directory

But before we conclude...a WARNING!

NEVER pay to apply for a scholarship!
NEVER pay for scholarship information!
NEVER provide bank, credit card or financial information!
VISIT the websites below on how to avoid scholarship scams!

Screenshot of first page of "How to spot scholarship scams."

Image to FinAid's home page on scholarship scams.

The partners highlighted in this web page are solely responsible for their services, events and products. SBCUSD d‍‍‍oes not explicitly or implicitly guarantee the services or products they provide.

777 North F Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410 | Phone: (909) 381-1100 | Fax:

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.